tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 21, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
06/21/13 06/21/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! in every instance and that where an fbi bullet hit someone, killed or wounded them, that was deliberately fired, the agency cleared the agent of any wrongdoing, found it was a justified shoot, it could shoot. >> as president obama nominates
james comey to head the fbi, newly disclosed documents reveal the fbi has cleared its agents in every single shooting incident dating back two decades. we will speak to pulitzer prize- winning new york times reporter charlie savage. then drones over the united states. >> does the fbi use drones for surveillance on u.s. soil? >> yes. >> as outgoing fbi director robert mueller confirms the agency's use of drones, we will speak with heidi boghosian, author of the new book, "spying on democracy: government surveillance, corporate power and public resistance." and we remember the late actor james gandolfini. while best known for his role is to a soprano, he produced two documentaries focused on injured military veterans, the effects of ptsd, and the emotional cost of war. >> sure they give the metals and alive, butou you are you feel and the.
you feel like he lost. -- like you lost. thank you. >> no, man, thank you. >> we will speak with the filmmakers who worked with james gandolfini on the documentaries, jon alpert and matthew o'neil. all that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. or disclosures have emerged from the leaked surveillance operations of the nsa. documents published by the guardian thursday show the nsa can retain the personal information of americans even if collected without a warrant. under rules adopted by the form intelligence surveillance court, americans' emails and phone records can be helped if inadvertently seized in the process of monitoring a foreigner or containing significant intelligence or evidence of crimes. the guidelines show the nsa generally destroys information in a berkeley gathered on u.s.
citizens unless the information is encrypted. in those cases, the data is retained help kraft encryption more broadly. encryption uc davis nossel is the targeting by the nsa if it is deemed to resemble methods by a foreign power or territory. the nsa has communications between attorneys and clients were they were under criminal indictment. portions lead to a massacre would be singled out. in a statement, the aclu said the revelations -- new details have emerged meanwhile on ties between u.s. intelligence and the nation's largest technology firms. the new york times reports the online communications giant skype created a secret program to develop ways of providing the
government with easy access to customers' information. dubbed project chess, the program was established to navigate the legal and technical obstacles to enabling government monitoring of skype calls and chats. the new york times has also revealed the former chief security officer for facebook has been working for the national security agency since leaving facebook in 2010. speculation continues to grow over whether nsa whistleblower edward snowden will seek political asylum in iceland. wikileaks founder julian assange says his been in touch with snowden's legal team. on thursday, an icelandic businessman tied to wikileaks said he is ready to approve a plan to fly snowden from china should the government grant him asylum. federal officials have confirmed they've been investigating for more than the year the profit from that conducted snowden's background check. the company is the largest contractor vetting security clearances for the u.s. government.
it is report al-libi -- reportedly being scrutinized for systematic failure to properly vet employees. the house has defeated the $500 billion farm bill that would have imposed radical cuts to food stamps for low-income americans. the measure called for $20 billion in cuts to the food stamps program over the next decade. nearly 2 million people would have lost access to food stamps, and 200,000 children would have been denied school lunches. republicans also passed an amount that would have allowed states to impose work requirements of the stamp recipients. former lee, herself a food stamp recipient, denounced what she called a further attack on poor families. >> i know from personal experience and no one wants to be on food stamps. many are hard-working people making minimum wage and others are desperately looking for a job in these difficult economic times. this and it demands hungry
families search for a job even while it eliminates all employment assistance and job training funds for those very families. let's not pretend i'm making a family supper more hunger and desperation and more hardship that a job will suddenly appear for them. >> although the work requirement amendment passed, 62 republicans ultimately helped democrats defeat the overall legislation because they wanted even deeper cuts. after the vote, nancy pelosi mocked republicans, calling their handling of the farm bill "demonstration of major amateur hour." a group of republican senators has unveiled a measure that would radically expand border enforcement in order to win support within their party for immigration reform. the proposal would double the number of border guards to 40,000. it would also fund the completion of 700 miles of fencing and surveillance. in a statement, the aclu
criticized proposals saying -- the senate move comes as the immigration bill faces uncertainty in the house, where speaker john boehner says he won't allow a vote unless it enjoys a majority of republican support. an estimated 1 million people rallied across brazil on thursday in a historic escalation of the country's largest protest in two decades. the demonstrations were held more than 80 cities across brazil, one day after the cities of sao paulo and rio de janeiro revoked transit fare hikes that set off the initial transitions -- demonstrations, but have since grown into a movement against government corruption, inequality, failing public services, police brutality, and government spending on the 2014 world cup and the 2016 summer olympics. thursday's protests aren't
concluded an estimated 300,000 in rio, over 100 and thousands of paulo, and tens of thousands in the capital. at least 150 people are dead following massive flash floods in northern india. rains and landslides have left 50,000 hindu pilgrims trapped in a mountainous state. more than 33,000 have been rescued. and report from the world bank is warning a global temperature rise of two degrees celsius will trap millions of people in poverty and devastation in the coming decades. they said unless global warming can be slowed, rising to butchers will wreak havoc on poor communities and som. >> the earth will have fundamentally changed. the way the earth processes water will have changed, so we will have droughts that will be devastating. we will have floods that will put cities in danger. there will be fundamental
issues and around the ability of poor people to sustain itself. the thing i worry most about is 2 degrees celsius world will prevent us from lifting people out of poverty. our goal of ending poverty by 2013 will be out of reach. >> a new study is warning that women worldwide -- more than one-third of women worldwide are victimized by sexual or physical assault from a partner. for the first time brings together the data on the prevalence of different forms of violence against women, and shows the problem is widespread and excessively high. one in three women globally are affected by physical or sexual violence from a partner or non partner. of violence against women is a global problem. it is widespread at unacceptably
high levels. >> according to the study, 40% of women killed worldwide were slain by a partner. details on u.s. drone strike in yemen, mcclatchy reports in addition to killing five militants, the strike killed the lead targets ever brother, a 10- year-old boy. the attack occurred june 9, just weeks after president obama is a dress promising greater transparency and caution in the waging of drone strikes abroad. it set off a wave of complaints from local tribal leaders. one told mcclatchy -- the pentagon says calls for military doctors to stop the force feeding of hunger striking guantanamo prisoners have fallen on deaf ears. a group of top doctors and specialists recently published an open plea for their colleagues in the military to boycott the first reading of prisoners -- force feeding the prisoners.
is spokesperson said military doctors have rejected the concerns. >> this is a lawful order. ourink -- i spoke to medical folks this morning on that very issue and he said we that hasd anyone voiced any concern, so the american medical association it is their opinion, but the law and policy is to preserve life through lawful means. >> 104 of the 166 remaining prisoners are on strike, but the defense attorney said the number is higher. at least 44 are being force fed through tubes. jury selection has concluded in a murder trial of george tianemazimmerman.
zimmerman will face a six member, all female panel, five of them white. he faces up to life in prison. the fbi is denying rumors it is investigating the late journalist michael hastings before his death in a los angeles car crash earlier this week. wikileaks said one of its attorneys had heard directly from hastings he was under fbi investigation. in a statement on thursday, the bureau responded -- christian group devoted to so-called gate conversion has closed its doors and apologized to the lgbt community. exodus international had billed itself as the oldest christian ministry devoted to the practice of trying to shame gay people in a changing the sexual orientation. in an open letter to those who underwent its practices, but to this international president alan chambers of the group was part of a system of ignorance saying --
california last year became the first detonation banning so- called conversion therapy aimed at minors. two philadelphia public school parents and two workers have launched a hunger strike against a wave of school closures and staff layoffs. the philadelphia school district announced earlier this month the firing of 1200 employees lunchtimes aides responsible for safety and serving food to students. they are among 3800 school workers to stand lose their jobs next month in the city's bid to close at $300 million funding gap. philadelphia is also closing 23 public schools. the hunger strikers are camping out of from the pennsylvania governor's field office in downtown philadelphia during the day and sleeping in a nearby church at night. in chicago, the school year
ended this year with a sit-in at one of the 49 schools being closed down under a plan approved earlier this year. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. as president obama prepares to nominate james comey today to head the fbi, the agency is facing new questions over how it handles shootings involving fbi agents. a new look at the fbi's internal destinations has found the bureau has cleared its agents in every single shooting incident dating back two decades. according to the new york times, from 1993 until today, the fbi shootings were deemed justified in the fatal shootings of 70 people and wounding of 80 others. out of 289 shootings that are found to be deliberate, no agent was disciplined except for letters of censure in five cases. even in the case for the bureau
paid a shooting victim over $1 million to settle a lawsuit, the internal review did not find the agent who shot the man culpable. >> the issue of fbi accountability has recently re- emerged following last month's fatal shooting of ibragim interrogatedwas over his ties to one of the suspects in the boston marathon bombing. the washington post and several tv news organizations reported he was unarmed, citing unnamed law enforcement officials. on thursday, i spoke to pulitzer prize-winning journalist charlie savage, the washington correspondent for the new york times. he co-wrote the recent article called, "the fbi deemed agents faultless in 150 shootings." charlieby asking savaged to lay out what he found. >> before this recent shooting incident in orlando, which remains murky, he said the fbi is committed he was not armed. another version is, he attacked
an agent with a knife. another says he was brandishing a pole. who knows what happens in that room -- happened in that room. before that i've been looking into fbi shooting incidents over many years. we fought a freedom of information act lawsuit to obtain the internal records at fbi shooting reviews, every time they should pull a trigger they have a review. for all of the deliberate shootings dating back to 1993. suddenly, timely, because the fbi just shot this man under very murky circumstances, and typically is the case when the fbi kill someone or shoot someone, local homicide conducting an not independent investigation to try to figure out what happened. they defer to the federal bureau of investigation to investigate
itself. what this enormous pile of documents that we eventually obtained, all delivered shooting incidents dating back to 1993, shows come in every instance and fbi 20 year span, where an bullet hit someone, it either killed or wounded them, that was deliberately fired, the agency cleared the agent of any wrongdoing. they found it was a justified shoot, a good shoot. there were five supposed what it would call bad shoes were agents received a letter of censure for things like firing a warning shot up a crowd. none of those involved anyone getting hit by a bullet. >> you quote professor samuel walker who teaches criminal justice about the problem. >> this is a professor who
studies in eternal law enforcement investigations. he said this very low rate of finding shoes basically zero when someone was hurt, or an animal -- some of these are shooting dogs while serving an arrest warrant for something -- was suspiciously low. of course we don't know it means that in fact something was wrong, it is just suspiciously low. one of the problems in the value waiting this documents that, containing over 2000 pages, as i said earlier, overwhelmingly often with few exceptions, no independently produced investigative report by some other authority where you could put the two report side by side and see if this is an accurate portrayal of what happened are not. there's good reason to believe the fbi would have a generally lower rate of bad shootings because unlike a city police
force, the fbi agents tend to be older, better trained, more experienced, and perhaps most importantly, they're not patrolling the streets and responding to in progress crimes and chaotic situations. when they go in arresting people and so forth, it tends to be preplanned operations where they go in with overwhelming force and that will minimize chaos. yes, they still killed or wounded 150 people over 20 years and is kind of remarkable not once in all of that time, even in an instant or the bureau ended up paying over $1 million to someone who was shot by an agent, did they find internally that that was not a justified shooting. >> charlie savage, you referred to this piece, the summit of $1 million of a man shot in 2002. can you describe that case? >> let me preface it by saying why this is a case were looking at. it is not the case is
particularly different than others, although there are some oddities about it, and it is over a decade old, but what is interesting is it is rare exception to the rule there is nothing to look at the the fbi's own narrative of what at. in this case there was an independent investigation by a local police detective and there was a lawsuit that led to the discovery before it was finally settled and there was some additional investigations that were conducted as part of that litigation. so there was a lot of alternative information alongside the fbi's own version of events to see at least whether they dovetailed or there were some discrepancies. and there were discrepancies. the fbi was looking for a bank robbery suspect they thought was when becoming by convenience store in a white baseball cap, and a car driven by his sister. unfortunately, another man fitting that description who was innocent came back in a white
baseball cap and a car driven by his girlfriend. the fbi thought it was the bank robbery suspect and chased down the car, swarmed it, surrounded it with guns. a moment later, shot mr. shultz in the face. miraculously, he survived. the bullet deflected off a piece of metal on the clip that holds the seat belt so it's sort of hit his jaw rather than his head. he underwent facial reconstruction surgery and the fbi eventually paid or should say taxpayers paid $1.3 million to settle that lawsuit. and yet internally, the fbi deemed it to have been a good shoe. the internal report shows one member of the panel looking at this did not think so, but he was outvoted by the rest of them who said the totality of circumstances around the
the tally of the circumstances says it was understandable. you see a series of small but important ways the narrative omitted information or exaggerated information in a way that made it much more sympathetic to the agent who pulled the trigger and these alternative reports, including one by this police detective who is a neutral party, look like. the fbi since -- spent a full page describing what happened after they turned on lights and sirens until they finally pulled over the car. then make it sound like an extended chase. they talk about how the car rapidly accelerated. how the fbi agents had to shout over and over for them to pull over and finally brought it to rest, maybe 100 yards away,
approximately. when you look at the alternative reports, first of all, a forensic crash reconstruction specialist said the car could of been going no more than 12 miles an hour. the police detective noted it was in a merge lane so it wouldn't have to accelerate a little bit. an internal sketch creed by the fbi but not in this report, put it stopped at 142 feet from the intersection, not 100 yards. so the fbi's report created the sense of quite a chase that would have made it more reasonable to assume the person in the car was a desperate and dangerous person. another example is the fbi's report that was sent to this review group did not contain anything from the statement by the victim and it did not live at a crucial fact was in dispute. the crucial fact was, how did
this i move before the agent shot him? in the fbi's report, is says the agent who shot him said, "show me your hands." in fact to move down to his left, so he thought was reaching for a gun and shot him. the victims said, he had been moving to the right because another agent was simultaneously shot and open the door. he was listening to that agents. we don't know what is true, but the fact that there are disputed facts is relevant and that was not put in the fbi's narrative. it only came out because of the internal -- external investigation. >> joseph schultz said he was responding to another officer telling him to open the door? >> that is right. he said was reaching to his right to open the door as opposed to the agent who shot
him in who said he saw him reach into the left. we don't know which of those accounts is true, but the relevant issue is, the fbi's internal review panel that deemed as a good shoe did not have that information in front of them in the near the produced by the review team but this is more than a decade ago. it is one incident rid it is not novel to me at this stage whether this is in aberration or a this is something to happen more often. the overwhelming majority at the time, there is no alternative investigation or loss to thicket's dismissed right away by a judge and a motion for summary judgment without reaching the stage of discovery and having evidence collected. most of the time people being shot our criminal suspects, the people -- the drug dealer or whoever thought was going to go and be arrested, so there is not a lot of public sympathy, i
think, or interest in the judiciary in looking at those cases. the oddity of this one particular case were was a totally innocent victim overcame those hurdles and convinced the police department they wanted to do their own investigation and convince the judge and the court to let it get to discovery, and that is how we know in this case something was audit. >> charlie savage, you said you got over 2100 pages from the fbi. did you uncover any information about the killing of the 72- year-old puerto rican independent activist shot dead by the fbi in 2005, and according to an autopsy, he bled to death after being hit with a single bullet? officials did not enter his home until the following day, many hours after he was shot. he was wanted in a 1983 bank heist. >> i did not look carefully at that case and i'm not sure if it is in the section of documents
or not. i put them all up on the web. i invite viewers to know anything about particular incidence is back in 1983, to go back and look at that. ofre are a handful incidents that did not go through this process. the justice department or inspector general, rather, has the right to take away a shooting incident investigation from the fbi at the onset. there was one from puerto rico, i don't know if it is the one that involved a police officer who shot from about five or six years ago, that was not in the documents that because the jd -- >> we did a search of the documents you put on line, and this is not in that 2100 pages. >> because they pulled it out. >> that was charlie savage, washington correspondent for the new york times who covered the
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn now to other fbi news, the agency acknowledged the use of drones to carry out surveillance within the u.s. on wednesday, and the questioning by republican senator chuck grassley june hearing at the senate judiciary committee, fbi director robert mueller confirmed the domestic use of drones. he also said the bureau was still drafting regulations to address privacy concerns. >> we are in the initial stages of doing that and i will tell you our footprint is very small. we are exploring not only the
use, but also the necessary guidelines for that use. >> does the fbi use drones for surveillance on u.s. soil? >> yes. >> i want to go onto a question -- >> let me put it in context. the very, very minimal way and very seldom. >> in a statement, democratic senator mark udall questioned whether drone spying is constitutional, saying -- meanwhile in the latest leak of classified nsa material, the guardian reported thursday the nsa can keep copies of intercepted communications from or about u.s. citizens if the material contains significant intelligence or evidence of crimes. the foreign intelligence surveillance court or fisa court signed off on rules that appear to grant wide latitude to the nsa in making use of data,
rather than minimizing its usage, according to the report. to talk about the issue of domestic surveillance, we're joined by heidi boghosian, whose new book examines increasing monitoring of ordinary citizens, and the corporations that work with the government to mine data collected from a wide range of electronic sources. she is executive director of the national lawyers guild. her forthcoming book is called, "spying on democracy: government surveillance, corporate power and public resistance." in august.ut welcome. let's talk about drones over the united states, how they're used. >> both conservatives and liberals have been claiming for years that drone use in the united states is [indiscernible] the reason is, they can be made in any size. researchers are looking into how butterflies move so that they could craft drones the size of mosquitoes or birds.
they have the ability to have infrared cameras on them, heat sensors, and also the ability to stay airborne -- they call it loitering -- for long periods of time reid contractors such as boeing and raytheon are looking into ways to keep them airborne longer. the danger of being with small drones, they can pass in dense urban areas such as new york city into an apartment building, stay there and conduct surveillance. even now drones have the capacity to have heat sensors to determine, i think through a 1 foot concrete wall, if people are moving around inside. >> so diffuse what a mosquito, you could be charged with damaging government property? arguese defending drones it is no different than a helicopter flying over a scene, that there is no real civil
liberties issue, unless of course they come into apartments. they say it is not much different than the technology. >> it is very different. drones do not require a space from which to depart the way manned vehicles do. furthermore, technology has not kept abreast with developments in the law. as was cited earlier, the regulations are really lagging behind safeguards about how they can be used. there is a rush right now by military contractors and law enforcement agencies around the country to tell the faa how they can integrate drones into domestic aerospace in the next two years. billions of dollars have been given to contractors for that purpose. >> nyc mayor michael bloomberg, march said the use of domestic surveillance drones by new york city authorities and the erosion of privacy, he talks about this.
worldng into a different and charge it and like it or not, what people can do or what governments can do is different and to some extent you can control the cannot keep the tides from coming in. we are quick to have more visibility and less privacy -- we're going to have more visibility and less privacy. it is not a question of it is good or bad, but i don't see how you can stop it. >> it benefits large corporations to have a snug .elationship .e have privacy it is small aircraft were able to monitor is over long periods of time, track bar associations, trap us, that presents a huge problem. >> this whole issue of
corporations and government cooperating on surveillance, you talk about that in your book drones not just book, other surveillance in general. you talk about fusion centers. what are those? >> they were created around 2003 to 2007 as a better way to coordinate intelligence across the country. the problem is a partner with the private sector, the business industry, so they share intelligence with one another. it is obvious to businesses best interest to increase the amount of data they can because there also improving analytics for the government to avail themselves of an order to make sense of the vast amounts of data that is being collected. so technologies being developed that the government relies on. big money is pouring into corporations. in exchange, a private sector is giving that information to the government. >> but could a former nsa cia
director chart -- michael hayden who oversaw much of the privatization from 1999 to 2005. this is from 2011. >> we may come to a point where defense is more actively and aggressively defined even for the private sector. what is permitted there is something we would never let the private sector do in physical space. throw out a bumper sticker. how about a digital blackwater? we have privatized certain defense activities even in physical space, and now you have a new domain in which we don't have any paths trampled down in the forest in terms of what it is expected government or allow the government to do. in the past in history when that has happened, the private sector expands to fill the empty space. i am not quite an advocate for
that. but these are the kinds of things that will be put into play here very quickly. >> that was the former nsa and say director general michael hayden, talking about digital blackwater. mcconnell is not top guy. -- is now top guy. >> a lot of government agencies hire people from the public sector and vice versa. defcon, the hacker convention every year, you'll see a lot of government officials there. they rely on individuals with technological expertise. they really need each other. i think one of the dangers is private sector can operate with impunity in terms of skirting the constitution. the government meets that. it is helpful to them. >> in your book you also talk about some of the surveillance of journalists and lawyers that only by the government, but private-sector. you highlight the case of
hewlett-packard and what it did in 2006 in terms of finding out the sources of journalists. can you talk about that? >> it was called the hp scandal. hewlett-packard hired a private contractor, i believe two, to do what is called pretext thing, which is now illegal in many areas. basically the pretended or someone else, called up record keeping places to find out information about the people who beat criticism of hp. we see a lot of that. private security -- >> bleeped to journalists. >> exactly. administration, we have the classifying of more information, declassifying fewer documents, and cracking down on journalists, which goes to the heart of our democracy without the free exchange of information we become a very
repressive state. >> reported earlier today that max kelly, the former chief security officer for facebook went on to work or since 2010 has been working for the nsa. close partnership. >> let's talk about the main thesis of your book, "spying on democracy: government surveillance, corporate power and public resistance." activists?s to give us an example would a means for the future. >> when people say during the revelations of nsa spying, i don't need to worry because of nothing to hide, it goes to the critical question of, what does the government do with this information? one thing they do is target individuals who challenge not only government policies, but corporate policies. animal rights activists, environmental activists. the danger of even getting
metadata we contract associations and patterns that people engaged in, those were critical of the government will be sought out even criminalize for engaging in robust speech. we see new legislation such as the animal enterprise terrorism of -- it takes away a lot first, met protected activities. first and in a protected activities. are seeing, the use of biometrics. people arrested in occupy new york city were asked if they would submit to iris scans. we're also seeing that were held longer when they said no, but if you go to a hospital, for example, the man asked to put your palm under a scanner.
there will say this for expediency, you can see the doctor faster. you're giving up personal affirmation that is stored. i think it is important to realize all of the information gathered electronically or through biometrics is stored and to be accessed and used for purposes other than what it was a richly intended for at a point down the road. >> i want to ask about the latest gurion report over the nsa and attorney-client communications. this from the new york times, to get their hands of the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large lines of data, u.s. intelligence agencies invested --icon valley start-ups the american intelligence committee also has its own in- house venture capital company financed to invest in high-tech start-ups.
start with the client attorney privilege. >> since 9/11 events, we've seen a few developments that allow the government to listen in on what are supposed to be private, privileged conversations between attorneys and their clients. the problem is, organizations such as the center for constitutional rights, the people's law office in chicago, and the national lawyers guild talk a lot with clients who are critical of the government. the government then has an interest in listening in, monitoring their conversations. it has what we call the chilling effect on free speech. when you know you're being listened in on, it alters the way you're going to communicate with your attorney. just as a confidential source talking to a journalist once suspecting they're being monitored, may not be able to speak as freely. i think by going after attorneys and their clients as well as
journalists, it further constricts the exercise of free speech and really goes at the core of our legal system and protection of the rights of anyone, no matter how unpopular to the government, have a zealous advocate on their behalf. in border of drones enforcement across the country, the southern border especially, it is increasingly being done. the civil liberties concerns there? >> it is being done and border control and emergencies such as floods, fires, situations where they claim it is too dangerous to have a personed aircraft fly over. it i think the argument that it is safer, less costly, is something that is going to allow more and more of these functions to be increasingly taken over. the faa has said drones our right they said should be used
increasingly for law-enforcement purposes. >> back to the question of the beginning of a corporation, government convergence on spying, most people talk about the government, whether there will be looking at them, but the idea this is used for corporations to spy as well? >> corporations are such a huge part of our life and are developing their own intelligence branches as well as giving information over to the government. they need to silence their critics quickly and efficiently. we have seen them during the spying on peta, a coalition of democracy workers in florida -- workers in florida. they actually monitored burger king in florida. >> we want to take you very much, heidi boghosian, executive
director of the national lawyers guild. she is the co-host of the weekly civil liberties radio show "law and disorder." shias author the forthcoming book, "spying on democracy: government surveillance, corporate power and public resistance." it is due out in august. when we come back, we remember james gandolfini with two filmmakers who did two documentary's with them around war. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we remember james gandolfini. >> we end today's show with a look at a lesser-known side of a well-known actor james gandolfini, celebrated for his role as mob boss tony soprano on the hit tv series, "the sopranos," died wednesday the age of 51. he was vacationing with his family in italy when he died of a possible heart attack. the coverage of his death has focused mainly on his trail as tony soprano, a role that earned him three emmy awards. in a statement, david chase called james gandolfini "one of the greatest actors of this or any time." >> but the news coverage has mentioned little about the more
political side of james gandolfini's work. in new york city he was beloved but only because of his acting on the stage and screen, but his major support for community media. and while his fictional roles have received wide acclaim, he has received less attention for his leading roles in two documentaries about the ravages of war on u.s. soldiers. in 2010 he produced the hbo film, "wartorn: 1861-2010" about posttraumatic stress disorder from the civil war to iraq and afghanistan. he also conducted a series of in-depth interviews with u.s. soldiers wounded in the iraq war for 2007 hbo film called, "alive day memories: home from iraq." the at thenters on of the soldiers remember two key dates in their lives -- their birthday and they're alive day, the day when they narrowly escaped a violent death. this is the trailer for the film. >> jim gandolfini.
how you doing, sir? what did you join the army? >> i wanted to protect the nation and protect it and punish those who seek to destroy it. >> it was one of those nights in the desert. >> i had my left hand on the steering wheel. i was smoking and the bomb went off. >> all i heard was screaming and everything went black. >> that was the trailer for the hbo film, "alive day memories: home from iraq." for more we're joined here in new york by the film's co- director is, jon alpert and matthew o'neil. the also corrected, "wartorn: 1861-2010." they were together in new york's downtown community television, a community media center based in chinatown where james gandolfini
was a board member. you were nominated for an oscar for "redemption." honorsceived many including in the awards. we welcome you both back to democracy now! jamesalk about gandolfini. he was a friend of yours, and he did your films. >> he was a friend to many people. could crystallize him, he sort of believed in nobody left behind. he did not leave his high school friends behind or his college friends behind or soldiers. he did not leave people with learning disabilities behind. he did not leave me behind. any time he came to town, my phone would ring. used toy now! and dtcv be neighbors.
we consider each other friends, but we don't call each other up. gym's world was really big. he made sure he never forgot anyone. when you're his friend, you were always his friend. >> how to get about with dctv to begin with? the commercial acting world is somewhat removed from documentaries and community media. >> through working on the documentary's, we all showed a soldiers, thee cost of war. he worked really hard on those documentaries. the interesting thing about documentaries, in essence, they show war and all its terror. they are antiwar films. the army has embraced these films and shows him to every single soldier that comes into the army. it was a constructive series of documentaries. and what our high
school kids all cameras this christmas so they could tell their stories. >> i want to go to one of jim gandolfini's interviews in "alive day memories: home from iraq." when i came back, a lot of people would ask me, how do you feel about this? do you ever think you get married, have a boyfriend, have kids? i did not know the answers to those questions, but as i go through life, i am learning it has nothing to do with whether or not i am in npt. -- an amputee. if i ever have a kid, do i wonder if there will love me for who i am? i hope so.
what were you just thinking about? will i be aty is, raise a kid? i want it to pick up my son or daughter with two arms. i want. i hope they still love me. i hope i will still be a good parent. what can you do. >> if it matters, i think you're going to be a wonderful parent. >> that is james gandolfini speaking with first lt. dawn . whaten he asks her, rethinking? there is a long pause. it is an example of his love for people. he listened carefully. theaid attention to what rich talking about. he treated everyone with respect and warmth. the political side of jim, i was thinking about these interviews. he was not traditional
political, but you want people to hear the stories he had heard. he was inspired by what they said. he was inspired by the fact he had never heard the stories before. he did uso tours and came back and said, why is no one talking about these soldiers lives? how can i help tell the stories. he one of the cameras focused in the spotlight focused on other people. >> how little he felt the need to be seen in the film's or even to raise long questions of the film. >> i remember when we were doing press for the film and los angeles and the press would be saying, james, james, mr. gandolfini! he would grab a soldier in say, don't talk to me, it is about them rid i got nothing to say. he led his energy and his warmth and compassion to the stories that were not being heard.
it was a real gift ever 1. >> let's go to a clip from the hbo documentary, "wartorn: 1861- 2010" of james gandolfini interviewing two members of the louisiana national guard at camps where in iraq. >> it is hard to be tossed to do what we do. it is combat arms, then they expect to turn it off. that is a hard thing about being in the guard. they expect to does to get back into society. >> who is a? >> friends, family. in early april 2006 i really hit rock bottom. i contemplated suicide for a while. it got to a point where i did not know where it was -- what it was. mentally i did not know where i was proud i was lost. i felt i was feeling my way with my hands in the dark. >> it is like he just cannot give yourself right.
>> talking to other people that, nothing helps? >> you just cannot figure in yourself out. it will tear your life apart. met a bottleer has because they did not know to do. >> the "wartorn: 1861-2010 documentary " and the boys in the distance is james gandolfini. "war-torn" and the voice in the distance was james gandolfini. people are ready to talk and share intimate things with him and that was an extraordinary gift he brought to these documentaries. >> and his involvement with downtown community television? as a board member, was the frequently in the firehouse? >> he came by whenever he was in town.
he continued to work in documentary's. he stayed involved in our lives the same one he did with the soldiers' lives. he gave these men and women his cellphone. he was a super big movie star and they stayed in touch with him for years because he made that intimate connection and kept up with it. >> last comment, jon alpert? a we are in the middle of documentary that he was producing about people with learning disabilities. it is another cause he felt very strongly about. the kids who were pushed into the back of that classroom, it was not right. no one left behind. he knew if they have the right opportunities they could blossom read he wanted everyone in the country to think about that. i would like the democracy now! committee to also think about j not thinkim, but saul. he is a really good guy.
>> and all the best to saul. you can go to democracynow.org to see our interviews with saul landau who is battling cancer right now. >> thank you both for being with us and all of the work you do, jon alpert and matthew o'neil who co directed, "wartorn: 1861- 2010" and "alive day memories: home from iraq." by james both produced gandolfini. that does it for our show. a very fond farewell to our video production fellow nemo allen. thank you for your persistence, your dedication and wish to the very best in your journey to colombia and beyond. you will always be with us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]